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DC Collectibles: DC Essentials Flash and Reverse Flash Review

I’m in a rare spot with this review, in that I’m all finished taking pictures and am sitting down to give my thoughts on the figures—but I still don’t know what those thoughts are. In short, I’m oddly conflicted. Usually, I know exactly how I feel about a toy at any given moment.

I’m in a weird place with my DC action figure purchasing these days. I’d say it’s where a lot of the post-DCUC crowd has ended up. I was all over that line, and when it ended– a slow strangulation where you could watch the blood vessels pop in ¼ time—I figured that was it until something really grabbed me by the leg hairs and spun me around. I had a decent collection, a good run, and a lot of strong showings. Sure, there were issues here and there, but that’s nothing new. Afterwards, the DC Collectibles Icons started up, and I grabbed a few of those to test the waters. I didn’t really like most of the small amount I ended up, whether due to costumes, structural flaws or just…offness.

With that over, we’ve got two options. Mattel is (kind of) bringing back DC Universe classics in a way under the Multiverse branding, and DC Collectibles is going back to the beginning of yet another DC line with the Essentials branding. This time around, the figures are larger, coming in at 7 inches instead of around 6 or below, and feature a more traditional articulation scheme, without the awkward torso joints and lack of hip joints of the Icons figures.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still issues. But I’m not sure if they’re my issues, or issues with the figures themselves. As I said, I still don’t know quite how I feel about them. I think the best way I can get my thoughts on them down is to make a list of pros and cons. That way, you will know immediately if you agree with my problems, and you’ll know whether or not these are for you or not. Maybe after I’m finished I’ll actually know where I stand as well. Make sense? Just say it does and let’s press onward.

Since I like to be positive about toys, I’m going to tackle the pros first:

PROS

–The figures are very nicely articulated. Deep range of motion in the elbows and knees. The hips can get a nice, wide split. Torso has a nice forward and backward range. The range of motion in the head is exceptional, and will no doubt be great for Superman’s flying poses, something many other Superman figures have fallen short on.

–The costumes are more classically-inspired. Whether this is a pro or not is going to be dependent on the individual, but for me it is definitely a pro. Mainly, this means that Flash doesn’t have the somewhat superfluous lightning bolts all over his costume as introduced in the New 52 design. I’ve never felt that added anything to the simple purity of the Flash costume. The Reverse Flash, by contrast, is a striking, simple yet bold yellow. They make an excellent-looking pair.

–The headsculpts are very nice. The Flash has a heroic, almost silver-age quality to it, and the reverse Flash has a sneering, malevolent look.

–The sculpting on the body isn’t overdone. They both use the same body, which is a lean, muscular one, but it still feels like a figure inside a spandex costume and not the overly striated sculpting that can sometimes be overdone on a figure. This gives the figures a very natural appearance.

–Both feature one fist and one expression hand. This fits with my standard demand that all heroic figures need at least one fist, because they’re all Punchy McPunchersons when they’re fighting and you need that fist. Flash’s left hand is a neutral running hand, Reverse Flash has the more evil “I’m gonna get you, sucka” coiled hand. These are excellent choices for drama.

Overall, there is a lot to like about these figures. But let’s take a peek at the cons and see what it is that makes me hesitate on fully endorsing them.

CONS

–Like I said in the pros section, the articulation is very nice. However, there are two areas I began having issues with. The first is in joint tightness. As I was taking pictures, the joints themselves started to get very loose in certain places. Flash’s knee, Reverse Flash’s hips. They began to lose integrity, and that was just after some light fiddling, not heavy playing. I can only imagine that with more play time those limbs would start to get floppier and floppier. Now, that could just be mine, but it is a cause for concern.

–The ankle joints are a Revoltech-styled joint. Technically, that would seem to be a fine idea, because Revoltech joints do very well in giving you a wide range of motion. However, Revoltechs—and a lot of import figures—are considerably lighter figures. These are both heavy figures, and the ankle joints are simply not strong enough to keep them mobile without serious manipulation and finding the “sweet spot.” This is, of course, only an issue if you want to put them into more dynamic poses for a shelf display, and can be remedied a variety of ways, but the marriage of figure weight to ankle strength is incongruous.

–They lack accessories/extras. For these two, it’s not a huge deal, but the option of two fists + two expressive hands would have been ideal. Even some speed effects, or alternate head/facial expressions. As it is, you get the figures themselves and that’s it.

–I’m not against seven inch figures at all, but I think if these aimed more for Marvel Legends size, they could have broadened their audience to people who want to have DC and Marvel interact, and also it would have lessened the weight of the figures, which would have reduced the strain on the ankle joints. Now, before someone starts fingerbanging their keyboard with apoplectic mania, I am aware that not everything has to be run through the viewpoint of “fitting with Marvel Legends” and that these might work fine with Marvel Selects or whatever, but that’s my personal take on it. If this isn’t a con for you, then that’s cool. It’s not a total dealbreaker for me either, but I will admit I am in the market for an affordable DC line that can seamlessly fit in with Marvel, both in size and style.

–Flash’s costume is more of a red-orange than a true red. I think if it had been the color of Reverse Flash’s boots, then it would have been perfect. But red seems like a hard thing for toy companies to get right.

–The forearms are definitely too long. You notice it less if you’re not staring right at them and just moving them around, but it is definitely a thing.

–I think the feet might be too small, which gives them some stability issues.

I think that covers everything. As you can tell, I like a lot about them, and the cons aren’t what I would necessarily call “dealbreaking.” Maybe it’s just that it’s hard to tell with these two. I’m probably going to end up getting the Superman as well, and I think with Superman I’ll know how far I want to dig into this line.

At least before DCC cancels it to start all over again.